The Milwaukee Bucks will not play their fifth first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic, announcing they are striking because of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Every other game on Wednesday’s docket of playoff games also were scrubbed, with players demanding policing changes across the country.
Mr Blake’s family says he is paralysed. His shooting has set off several nights of protests in the Wisconsin town, where video shows he was shot multiple times in the back.
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The NBA has yet to announce if the Bucks will forfeit the game, which was scheduled to tip off at 4:10 p.m. in Orlando, Florida. The league has embraced the “Black Lives Matter” movement, even putting those words on its courts inside its Covid-19 “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The Bucks players’ decision to protest has added meaning because they are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They have a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series over the Orlando Magic, the No. 8 seed.
Milwaukee also features one of the association’s best and most popular players, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was just named the NBA’s defensive player of the year after winning its regular season most valuable player honour last season.
As protests over Mr Blake’s shooting continued on Tuesday night, a white boy was caught on video multiple times carrying a large rifle, with police doing little to stop him. Two men were killed and one injured by a gunman that witnesses said fit the description of the person in the video. A 17-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Details, however, remain unclear.
Reporters at the Disney arena reported on Twitter game balls being put back in bags. NBA stars took to Twitter to support the Bucks’ decision.